Medusa - Carol Ann Duffy

Published: 2021-06-29 06:46:09
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Medusa - Carol Ann Duffy

In the poem "Medusa", the poet (Carol Ann Duffy) explores and develops the theme of female empowerment - the transition from men to women over the progression of time, using the technique of language structure, symbolism and figurative language. She does this by revising the Greek/Roman myth about a beautiful woman who was turned into a monstrous gorgon. In this particular poem, she emphasises the concept feminism by showing how women can embrace their new-found power (the new form of a monster as shown in the myth - "which turned my hairs on my head into filthy snakes") and through development and progression ("grew in my mind"), they can, and have, willingly accepted what history's patriarchal society has shaped the women of today to be - mentally aggressive about defending; their sense of worth, their power, their courage and their strength within society as well as leading society. She develops the idea of the progressing transition over time, brilliantly in the language structure of her fourth and fifth stanza's which reads - "I glanced at a buzzing bee, a dull grey pebbly fell to the ground. I glanced at a singing bird, a handful of dusty gravel spattered down. I looked at a ginger cat, a housebrick shattered a bowl of milk. I looked at a snuffling pig, a boulder rolled in a heap of shit." The theme of women progressively embracing power is cleverly developed here, by enhancing the strength and intentions of what the persona is doing in the poem. For example, "I glanced" is a lot less intentional and controlled compared to "I looked" which implicates decision and choice. Also, Duffy shows the female persona as taking up larger challenges (from a bee, to a bird, to a cat, to a pig). This shows how the perona's view on her power develops the more she gets used to her new ability. I think that Duffy is showing how women can and some have embraced the opposite mental attitude of what has been determined, in the past, by men, that women should be - calm, placid and submissive, to, powerful women, allowed to show leadership and anger in society as was previously the mens role. This is clearly shown in the fifth stanza - "I stared in the mirror... showed me a gorgon. I stared at a dragon. Fire spewed from the mouth of a mountain". I perceived this line to mean that she sees herself as a raging and powerful dragon who is no longer seen as a young and beautiful - "Wasn't I beautiful? Wasn't I fragrent and young?" which is in past tense. From not liking the "soured" breath and "foul mouth" at the beginning of the poem, to "fire spewed out of the mouth of the dragon" and foul language being used in the fifth stanza - "heap of shit". The female persona is using the strength and ability to her own advantage.This concept is manifested

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